Kagero's Hungarian Armored Forces of WWII
|$29.95 from Casemate Publishing|
softbound, 8 x 11 inches,
Kagero's Photosniper series is really a great reference for the enthusiast. Every edition provides background history as well as a goodly number of period photographs of the subject. This time, the author has taken on a fairly large project, one that requires more pages than other editions in this series. Rather than provide information on a single subject, the entire armored forces of Hungary during WWII is covered.
Hungary was, in several ways, in a similar bind as Germany after WWI. The treaty with the winning side pretty much bankrupted the country and all of its armed forces were reduced to a level that barely allowed for internal security. There was no armored force allowed, no air force, and a huge purging of the regular army.
Also like Germany, the Hungarian military hid equipment, clandestinely bought military goods, and trained soldiers above the prescribed limit as 'police' or 'customs agents'. Unlike the Germans, they did not abandon the treaty until rather late in the 1930s so were not able to build up forces quite as quickly. This was hampered by a lack of funds as well, but with the assistance of some more sympathetic nations, was able to prepare for the inevitable war.
Since this book is on armored forces, it basically concerns tanks and armored cars. For the tanks, it relied on a license built Swedish L-60 light tank, which was modified to meet local equipment availability as the Toldi. This was also the basis for an AA/AT vehicle. For a medium tank, a license built Czech T-35 was developed as the Turan. The chassis for this tank was developed into the most successful of all Hungarian armored vehicles, the Zrinyi assault gun. An upgunned Turan was also built as a 'heavy' tank, but like all Hungarian tanks was inferior to what it had to fight against.
The 39 Csaba was the main armored car used by Hungarian forces. It was a well designed vehicle and provided just what was expected of it. It was fairly fast and able to perform light reconnaissance as well as patrol areas that had been occupied.
Like most of the Axis partners, a variety of non-Hungarian vehicles were used that included not only some German equipment, but a variety of Soviet and Polish equipment that was either captured or taken over.
The author does a very good job of providing not only a history of these various vehicles, but also the organization and training of units as well as the years prior to the war. There is an extensive bibliography as well as several pages of unscaled line drawings of these vehicles. A nice addition to the book are several pages of colored photographs, such as what you see on the front cover as well as the usual full color profiles. What is not included are any sort of walk-around or detail images. This is undoubtedly due to the nearly complete lack of extant vehicles. Indeed, the only ones around are in the Russian armor museum and I can only assume that no access was provided for this book. Besides, it would have consumed more pages, perhaps making the book too large.
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